Ask a Question

(Create a thread)
Go Back   Spanish language learning forums > Spanish & English Languages > Grammar


Pluscuamperfecto vs. el pretérito anterior

 

This is the place for questions about conjugations, verb tenses, adverbs, adjectives, word order, syntax and other grammar questions for English or Spanish.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old August 02, 2010, 06:41 AM
laepelba's Avatar
laepelba laepelba is offline
Diamond
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Suburbs of Washington, DC (Northern Virginia)
Posts: 4,683
Native Language: American English (Northeastern US)
laepelba is on a distinguished road
Talking Pluscuamperfecto vs. el pretérito anterior

Another nit-picky grammar question for this morning. Thanks (again) for bearing with me!

I am reading that the "preterit perfect" tense is not widely used. That it is mostly limited to a formal or literary style but not really in every day communication.

Keeping that fact in mind, I still have a question about this construction. Please explain to me the difference in meaning between the pluscuamperfect and the preterit perfect.

Here are some examples:
- En cuanto había empezado la película, Ángela se sentó. (pluscuamperfecto)
- En cuanto hubo empezado la película, Ángela se sentó. (pretérito anterior)

To me, it seems that both of these sentences mean: "As soon as the movie had started, Angela sat down."

How does the difference of "había" vs. "hubo" change the sentence? Or does it? Hmmmm......
__________________
- Lou Ann, de Washington, DC, USA
Específicamente quiero recibir ayuda con el español de latinoamerica. ¡Muchísimas gracias!
Reply With Quote
   
Get rid of these ads by registering for a free Tomísimo account.
  #2  
Old August 02, 2010, 07:07 AM
Perikles's Avatar
Perikles Perikles is offline
Diamond
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Tenerife
Posts: 4,814
Native Language: Inglés
Perikles is on a distinguished road
Have a look at Onoma and tick all the verb forms to be displayed:

pretérito perfecto compuesto
  • he empezado
pretérito anterior
  • hube empezado
condicional perfecto
  • habría empezado
pretérito pluscoamperfecto
  • había empezado


I'll stick my neck out here, and say that the two forms, pretérito pluscoamperfecto and pretérito anterior have the same translation in English, simply because the auxiliary verb haber is preterite in one and imperfect in the other, both translated as had in English.

The difference is possible in Spanish simply because the auxiliary verb has two forms which are identical in English.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old August 02, 2010, 01:13 PM
laepelba's Avatar
laepelba laepelba is offline
Diamond
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Suburbs of Washington, DC (Northern Virginia)
Posts: 4,683
Native Language: American English (Northeastern US)
laepelba is on a distinguished road
Okay, FIRST, I LOVE that website!! And do I understand correctly that they pull their conjugations from RAE and Molina, so they are rather accurate?? Wonderful!!!

Second, I am following everything you're saying here ... and that the translation in both cases goes to "had" in English...

But what is the difference in the SENSE in Spanish. Why would an author choose to say "había empezado" one time and "hubo empezado" another time?
__________________
- Lou Ann, de Washington, DC, USA
Específicamente quiero recibir ayuda con el español de latinoamerica. ¡Muchísimas gracias!
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old August 03, 2010, 02:21 AM
Perikles's Avatar
Perikles Perikles is offline
Diamond
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Tenerife
Posts: 4,814
Native Language: Inglés
Perikles is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by laepelba View Post
But what is the difference in the SENSE in Spanish. Why would an author choose to say "había empezado" one time and "hubo empezado" another time?
My grammar book says there is no expressable difference in sense, other than that difference generate by a different register. The past anterior with hubo etc. is not used in speech, it belongs to a formal written register.

I think you have to get used to the idea that there are nuances in any language which you can't translate into others, and I think this is one of them. Please somebody correct me there if I'm wrong.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old August 03, 2010, 02:36 AM
irmamar's Avatar
irmamar irmamar is offline
Diamond
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 7,071
Native Language: Español
irmamar is on a distinguished road
Quite difficult question, even more difficult to explain it in English... , but I'll try.

Pretérito anterior is used to give an idea of immediateness ( inmediatez), something very close in time:

En cuanto hubo empezado la película: almost just at the moment it started, just a few seconds later.

However your first sentence (en cuanto había...) makes no sense for me (although Spanish speaking world is large and what I said doesn't mean that it is not used somewhere), I wouldn't use pluscuamperfecto with this sentence, I would have said:

Se sentó cuando ya había empezado la película
(this sentence doesn't have the sense of immediateness that p. anterior has).

Bear in mind that p. anterior is not widely used, you may find it in written texts, but it's difficult to find it in spoken sentences. People is used to say the same with another words and another tenses:

Nada más empezar la película, se sentó.
En cuanto empezó la película, se sentó.
No se sentó hasta que empezó la película
.

I hope it helps.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old August 03, 2010, 05:33 AM
laepelba's Avatar
laepelba laepelba is offline
Diamond
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Suburbs of Washington, DC (Northern Virginia)
Posts: 4,683
Native Language: American English (Northeastern US)
laepelba is on a distinguished road
Thanks, Perikles & Irmamar - yes that is helpful. I know that not everything can be translated ... that's why I wanted to see if the *sense* could be explained to me. And I DO understand what you've said.

The sentence I gave as an example was the one used in the workbook, and I thought it was a bit strange myself with the "en cuanto" part...

Anyway - this is all very helpful. Thank you all!!
__________________
- Lou Ann, de Washington, DC, USA
Específicamente quiero recibir ayuda con el español de latinoamerica. ¡Muchísimas gracias!
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old August 03, 2010, 06:00 AM
irmamar's Avatar
irmamar irmamar is offline
Diamond
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 7,071
Native Language: Español
irmamar is on a distinguished road
You're welcome.

Perikles, there is a what I would define as a "barbaridad gramatical" in your link. When you look for a pronominal verb, you can see that both infinitivo and gerundio are conjugated . But they are formas no personales, ¡no pueden conjugarse!

Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old August 03, 2010, 06:11 AM
Perikles's Avatar
Perikles Perikles is offline
Diamond
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Tenerife
Posts: 4,814
Native Language: Inglés
Perikles is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by irmamar View Post
You're welcome.

Perikles, there is a what I would define as a "barbaridad gramatical" in your link. When you look for a pronominal verb, you can see that both infinitivo and gerundio are conjugated . But they are formas no personales, ¡no pueden conjugarse!

I suppose it depends on your definition again. True, the infinitive does not conjugate, but the word it forms does:

infinitivo
  • poderme
  • poderte
  • poderse
  • podernos
  • poderos
  • poderse
OK - you are quite correct, but if you tick the box and force it to give pronomial forms, even though they don't exist, I can see why they do it.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old August 03, 2010, 09:29 AM
laepelba's Avatar
laepelba laepelba is offline
Diamond
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Suburbs of Washington, DC (Northern Virginia)
Posts: 4,683
Native Language: American English (Northeastern US)
laepelba is on a distinguished road
I would have to say that, even though they ought not be called "conjugations" for the infinitivo and gerundio, it helps to see those forms spelled out with the accents....
__________________
- Lou Ann, de Washington, DC, USA
Específicamente quiero recibir ayuda con el español de latinoamerica. ¡Muchísimas gracias!
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old August 03, 2010, 10:17 AM
irmamar's Avatar
irmamar irmamar is offline
Diamond
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 7,071
Native Language: Español
irmamar is on a distinguished road
But you must be very careful with that, since they say:

yo poderme
tú poderte
etc.

as if yo were only able to be used with poderme, with poderte, etc., which can be missguiding, since:

Yo quisiera poderme contentar con lo que tengo - Tú quisieras poderme liberar - A él le gustaría poderme ayudar - etc.

Yo desearía poderte librar de tus ataduras - Tú deseas poderte vestir solo - Él quisiera poderte ayudar - etc.
etc.

By the way, I.O. pronoun, known as enclítico.
Reply With Quote
Reply

 

Link to this thread
URL: 
HTML Link: 
BB Code: 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Site Rules

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Volvamos al tema anterior ROBINDESBOIS Idioms & Sayings 2 April 21, 2010 12:23 AM
Preterito imperfecto o indefinido deborahj Practice & Homework 5 April 09, 2009 10:01 AM
Pluscuamperfecto or imperfecto? HELP agatita Grammar 19 February 09, 2009 03:13 AM
el pretérito y el imperfecto gramatica Grammar 4 April 08, 2008 07:40 PM
el imperfecto v. el preterito gramatica Grammar 7 July 22, 2007 01:19 PM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:59 AM.

Forum powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

X